Pravin Gordhan asks court to set aside public protector's finding against him

28 May 2019 - 13:47 By ernest mabuza
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has asked the court to set aside Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings that he acted improperly. He also asked the court to order personal costs on a punitive scale against Mkhwebane.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has asked the court to set aside Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings that he acted improperly. He also asked the court to order personal costs on a punitive scale against Mkhwebane.
Image: Trevor Samson

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday filed an application with the high court in Pretoria to review and set aside the public protector’s findings that he violated the constitution.

In her report on Friday, Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Gordhan acted improperly when he approved the early pension payout for former SA Revenue Service (Sars) senior official Ivan Pillay.

In her remedial action, Mkhwebane instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for "violating the constitution".

The early pension payout was made during Gordhan's first stint as finance minister. Oupa Magashula was Sars commissioner at the time. A complaint was lodged with the public protector's office in November 2016 alleging that Gordhan and Magashula had acted dishonestly with regard to public funds, which had resulted in Pillay receiving an improper advantage or being unjustifiably enriched at the expense of the taxpayer.

In a notice of motion, filed with the court on Tuesday, Gordhan also asked the court to declare that the public protector, in the investigation and finalisation of her report, failed to comply with her duties.

Following the release of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings against Pravin Gordhan regarding an early pension payout for a former senior SA Revenue Service official, Sunday Times political reporter Zingisa Mvumvu takes a look at what it means and why the findings matter.

Gordhan also asked the court to review and set aside Mkhwebane's decision to exercise jurisdiction over the complaint. He asked that the court to order personal costs on a punitive scale against Mkhwebane.

Gordhan also asked the office of the public protector to show cause as to why Mkhwebane's decision should not be reviewed and set aside.

He said the office of the public protector should, within 15 days of the receipt of the notice of motion, dispatch the record of all documents related to her decision.

Mkhwebane insisted, when releasing the report, that it was not an attempt to play to the political gallery, given the cabinet appointments due to be announced by Ramaphosa.

"When you say why the rush it means the public protector must not issue reports whereas I must do my work without fear or prejudice," said Mkhwebane.


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